As I mentioned in my new year's article, this year I not only created a list of new books I wanted to read but a list of ones I wanted to reread. This came from the idea of not needing new ideas but needing more action. The first book of the year that I decided to reread was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I wanted to talk about the book itself but also what rereading it means to me.
A quick summary of the book: A woman takes a whole year dedicated to making herself happier. Each month she focuses on a different aspect and by December she will be practicing all "resolutions" from the months prior.
I first read The Happiness Project the summer before I came to Wooster. I remember meeting with Mr. Sacco before the beginning of the year and he asked what book I was reading. To look back at how far I have come from that moment and everything that has changed since then makes rereading it that much more special. I also remember buying the book at an airport in Amsterdam when I had traveled to Europe. It was the first time I had been outside of the country and gone on a trip without family. I truly don't know how I was able to do that, but now I think about how I am going to be going off to college soon without anyone. Not only did I read the book as I was arriving at Wooster. The first WiNK article I ever wrote individually was about books and shows that changed my life. And The Happiness Project was on that list.
I feel like I couldn't have picked a better time to talk about this because we have been discussing the ideas of happiness in Senior Seminar, a class that all seniors at Wooster are taking. Thinking about what it means to be happy is a concept that not many teenagers or even adults think about. I simply wanted to share some of my feelings about this and encourage others to really reflect and appreciate the time we have to figure out what makes us happy. I don't want to wait until a midlife crisis to figure out my life.
A quote from the book that really stood out to me was, "I can do ANYTHING I want, but I can't do EVERYTHING I want." This quote came up a lot when trying to make decisions about college. I really love this way of thinking because it's so true. There is no way to do absolutely everything we want in one lifetime, but we don't need to necessarily choose because we can do anything. This book also has many other words of wisdom that inspire me to think differently about things while also sticking true to me. Another one of my favorite ideas from this book is don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I feel as though a lot of times I neglect to finish something to my best ability because I become worried about it being perfect. I really want to start adopting a new mantra to my daily life and encourage others to do the same. I have to begin thinking about areas of my life as it may not be perfect, but it is definitely me. In my original article from sophomore year, I wrote about Gretchen's secrets to a happy life, and her number one rule to always follow was "Be Gretchen." When it seems as if everything else isn't working out, we know we still have the ability to be ourselves.
I am about halfway through my reread of The Happiness Project and it has been nothing but inspiring to not only enjoy the book again but to remind me of the concepts I already knew about but haven't been acting on. I wanted this to be proof that the initial phrase about the new year is correct, at least for me. I am even thinking about transforming these ideas into my own happiness project...